It may not be obvious to an outsider, but, I am not a big sweets person. Never was I the kid who ate tons of cakes, cookies or candy. Instead, when holidays came around I would stash the candy in my toy-box, for a rainy day. That rainy day usually never came around, and a few months later my mother would toss out the petrified candies.
Now don’t get me wrong I do love an occasional sweet. Like a piece, of really great chocolate, birthday cake, homemade ice cream or gelato, or buttery pastries when in Paris. What I do love most for dessert is comfort sweets, such as flan or creamy rice pudding. To me that is the ultimate comfort dessert.
I usually use a recipe that my great-aunt use to use. It involved cooking the rice ahead of time, then slowly cooking the rice with milk, sugar and egg yolks. Time consuming. I love it, but, at times I just do not want to make a custard base nor precook my rice, I just want a bowl of comfort.
A while back I discovered, if I used arborio rice, the process was simplified. Arborio rice is normally used in risotto dishes as it creates a creamy rice base for many delicious add-ons. When using for a sweet dessert, I replace the stock with whole milk and heavy cream, and I add a little sugar. After stirring, stirring and stirring, a creamy reward is left for me to devour.
While an ordinary bowl, of rice pudding is delightful, I decided to kick it up a notch with this recipe. Keeping with the season, I poached Seckel pears with star anise, an orange peel, vanilla bean and sugar. To add a bit of depth, I made burnt caramel sauce, as I thought it would be a terrific addition with the slightly spicy pears and creamy bowl of rice. I was right, it was heavenly. Every bite was smooth, creamy, and spicy with a hint of smokiness. What are you waiting for, get cooking!
Rice Pudding with Burnt Caramel Drizzle
Ingredients:For the Rice Pudding
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 Seckel pears, washed, skin left on
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 2 star anise
- 1 medium piece of orange peel
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions:Making the Rice Pudding
- Place all of the ingredients, except the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir often to prevent sticking or burning.
- After 15 minutes, the mixture should be reduced by half. Stir in the heavy cream. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the rice is cooked, about 10 - 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. I like to leave the vanilla bean in with the rice, but you can remove at this point. Place the rice pudding into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
- Place all of the ingredients except the pears into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the pears to the mixture.
- Simmer for 20 minutes. Place the pears and poaching liquid into a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring the pan occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and golden brown. Carefully stir in the cream, it will splatter at first.
- Evenly divide the rice pudding between four bowls. Drizzle with some of the burnt caramel and top with a poached pear. Serve. Eat.
Eat Boutique is the go-to resource for all things food gifts, including one-of-a-kind, small-batch products and inspirational articles. We’ve got food gifts in our award-winning shop and story-driven recipes for everyday cravings, special occasions, and for anyone who needs a little food gift love—and, really, who doesn’t?!